Shore developer to set aside land to protect Delmarva fox squirrel

May 20, 1999|By Heather Dewar | Heather Dewar,SUN STAFF

In a first for Maryland, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has struck a deal with a Queen Anne's County developer to set aside land to protect the endangered Delmarva fox squirrel.

Developer Maureen Waterman has agreed to set aside a patch of forest at his 16-house Home Port development west of Queenstown, post 15 mph speed limits throughout the 63-acre site and conserve 31 acres of forest about a mile away as habitat for the squirrel, which once was common but now is found in only a handful of places on the Eastern Shore.

In exchange, Waterman will not be prosecuted under the federal Endangered Species Act if some endangered squirrels are accidentally killed on the site. Cars are the animals' worst enemy, said John Wolflin, supervisor of the Fish and Wildlife Service's Chesapeake Bay field office.

FOR THE RECORD - An article in some editions of yesterday's Sun misstated the names of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for protection of the endangered Delmarva fox squirrel. The lawsuit was filed by the conservation group Defenders of Wildlife and by Ned Gerber as a private citizen.
The Sun regrets the error.
Pub Date: 5/21/99

"It is likely over time" that some squirrels will be killed because of the development, Wolflin said, "but we don't believe it will jeopardize the survival of the species."

Fish and Wildlife officials said the voluntary agreement, similar to plans used in other states to protect endangered wildlife, sets an important precedent because the area where the squirrel lives is under heavy development pressure.

The Queen Anne's Conservation Association filed a lawsuit last year to force the federal agency to take steps to protect the squirrels on Waterman's land.

The lawsuit has been dropped, but conservation association President Ned Gerber said yesterday the agency's plan does not go far enough. "We end up with less squirrel habitat," Gerber said.

Pub Date: 5/20/99

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